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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Tempter
Both. The vast majority of the original F-15 fleet was delivered with longerons that were cut wrong. In 2007 the entire fleet was grounded three times, after an aircraft broke apart during ACM. The problem was traced to faulty longerons that were delivered cut too thin. Somewhere around 160 aircraft were retired because of it.
The F-15 was originally designed with an 8,000 hour life cycle. In 2006, something like 90% of the aircraft flying had used 95% of that life cycle or more. There were aircraft that were past that point and still flying. The Air Force did fatigue testing and a SLEP, and extended it to something like 12,000 hours. We're now approaching that point. In most aircraft, the limiting factor in life cycle is the center wing. So to continue to fly them, they're going to have to SLEP that portion of the aircraft, and if they want to add more capabilities, such as adding two more missile racks to the wings, they need to replace the wing with a new type of wing that was developed for the F-15QA.
originally posted by: anzha
This is such a stupid idea.
originally posted by: tadaman
I've been reading up on the F15X. It makes lots of sense. It has also been explicitly said by everyone involved that it has nothing to do with the F35.
originally posted by: RadioRobert
But the reasons to recap with an F-15X instead of increasing the F-35 buy would all be $$$, and the numbers don't look very promising.
Made up requirements: you want to retire extra airframes and replace 400 older legacy airframes as it an interim for PCA.
Options: Buy 400 new Eagles? Or for the same money, you can expand your F-35-buy by 325 (or more with economies of scale) airframes?
$65M x 400= $80M x 325
And when you can cut the entire F-15C/D/X lines from maintenance, training, spares, supplies and replace them with more F-35's and streamline, you see even bigger savings (or alternatively, even more F-35's for the same money).
If you could rehab and refit old Eagles for $30-40M, then numbers look a lot better for that option because you are right, you absolutely don't need an F-35 for many missions. You just need a truck. But Boeing is trying to keep the lines open on legacy projects because they don't have much in the hopper for future production so they aren't pitching that. Once the lines close, they won't come back. Even limited runs to keep them open leave a chance for follow-on orders. So it's all about the keeping them open at any cost right now.
Unfortunately for Boeing, right now the maths suck. I don't think you can squeeze the cost of even a 400-unit run on a big twin-engine fighter enough to make the numbers work in it's favour.